by Brandon Matzke and Nevin Hooper
Last Friday, Martin Scorsese turned 75. For 58 years, this masterful director has been gracing us with masterpiece after masterpiece. And to celebrate, we’re looking at his 5 best films. But, I haven’t seen that many of his films. Thankfully, I know someone who has: Nevin Hooper! Together we’re covering his best films. Just keep in mind there’s some we haven’t seen (Silence, The Wolf of Wall Street), and even if we did see those, we couldn’t exactly talk about them on the school blog. Now, let’s get into Marty’s best, starting with an honorable mention.
Hugo: Based on the bestselling children’s novel, Hugo is without a doubt Scorsese’s most family friendly film. It has a sense of wonder and whimsy within every frame, and has a great performance by Ben Kingsley. The reason why it’s not on the list is because I honestly could not care about some of the characters in this film. Some of them just felt like straight up cartoon characters! But other than that, Hugo is a film that’s fun for the whole family, and is definitely a better film to introduce the family to Scorsese than, say, The Wolf of Wall Street.
5. Casino (1995)
by Nevin Hooper
Although not as good as the other films on this list, and I also felt that this film copied off Goodfellas (1990) a little too much, this is still extremely entertaining. “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro) will do anything to keep his casino in Las Vegas running, available to anyone, and impossible to win. The film follows his hysteria that comes from him trying to keep up with everything happening in his personal life, competition with Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci), a Mafia crime boss, and others around him. The film contains Scorsese’s masterful direction, great performances from all, especially De Niro, and a great soundtrack, mood, and pacing. Like I said, not Martin Scorsese’s best, but one that you should definitely check out.
4. Taxi Driver (1976)
by Nevin Hooper
Taxi Driver was Martin Scorsese’s most controversial film at the time of it’s release in 1976, but over the years has gained a reputation as one of cinema’s greatest films of all time. Troubled taxi cab driver Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is disgusted by the city of New York in which he lives. He believes everyone around him is scum and dirt on the streets and plans to end that, or “clean it up” as he says. His decision is to turn against society by trying to get back into it by trying to fall in love, assassinate a presidential candidate, and save a young girl from an abusive life. This film has an excellent performance from De Niro, an excellent performance from a 12-year-old Jodie Foster, phenomenal cinematography, and a jazzy music score, giving the film an almost noirish feel. It is a very thought provoking film to watch, and has many deep themes about our society and what it can do to us. It is worth the watch because, duh, it’s Scorsese. Everything Scorsese directs is fantastic, and this film is no exception.
3. The Departed (2006)
by Brandon Matzke
Personally, this is my favorite Scorsese flick. A remake of the Chinese film series Internal Affairs, The Departed is a film that manages to be a masterpiece of crime cinema without even trying. This film is gritty and brutal, yet manages to have an utterly irresistible charm. The writing is truly amazing (especially for Leonardo DiCaprio’s character), the cast is so filled with talent that it manages to leak through the screen (the biggest show-stealer for me is Jack Nicholson, who seriously brings his all into this film), the directing is phenomenal, the emotion is surprisingly real, I could just talk about this movie for hours on end. It’s just a film that needs to be seen to believe.
2. Raging Bull (1980)
by Nevin Hooper
Also based on a true story, Raging Bull follows the rise and fall of fame for boxer Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro, who gives one of the best performances I have ever seen) from his complications with his wife Vickie (Cathy Moriarty) and brother Joey (Joe Pesci) to him losing his hold as Heavyweight Champion to other younger and more experienced boxers. This film is phenomenal with it’s excellent acting, astonishing black and white cinematography, smooth and seamless direction from Scorsese, and amazing screenplay. The whole atmosphere of this film is amazing. The whole film is phenomenal and is one of my favorite films of all time. Not Scorsese’s best, but really close.
1. Goodfellas (1990)
by Nevin Hooper
Not only is this a perfect film about life in the Mafia, but this is a perfect film in general. I highly recommend seeing this film (although maybe you should watch the TV version first). It tells the true story of Henry Hill who joins in the Mafia as a teenager and follows his rise in power to an adult, where he is then played by the exotic Ray Liotta. But, you can’t talk about this movie without taking note of his two friends, Jimmy “the Gent” Conway (Robert De Niro), and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci, in a fantastic performance that won him the only Oscar for the film for Best Supporting Actor). The relationship between these three is extraordinary to watch. This whole film could just be these guys talking to each other and I would be fine, because their performances and screenplay are absolutely phenomenal. Although, Scorsese’s direction is fantastic, with long takes and lots of movement in the camera, his whole directorial style is something I very much admire. I love this movie, and I do believe that it is Martin Scorsese’s best film.